Japanese ad agency admits to bid-rigging in Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo, Feb 27 (EFE).- The president of advertising giant, Dentsu, admitted to bid-rigging for test events of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics held in the Japanese capital in 2021, local news agency Kyodo reported Monday.

Hiroshi Igarashi told prosecutors in voluntary questioning on Friday that his company was responsible for rigging bids pertaining to the organization of test events for the Olympic Games held in 2021, sources close to the case told Kyodo.

Prosecutors are contemplating indicting Dentsu and five other companies on charges of violating the country’s anti-monopoly law after receiving complaints from the Japan Fair Trade Commission.

Prosecutors have already arrested several company executives, as well as Yasuo Mori, the former deputy executive director of the Tokyo 2020 Games Operation Bureau, who was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of rigging 26 bids for contracts to host test events, worth more than $500 million.

According to sources, Mori colluded with senior officials and people linked to Dentsu to draw up a list of preferred companies to which to assign the tenders and for them to win.

Mori initially denied the accusations but later acknowledged his involvement after Dentsu employees testified about his collusion, according to leaks to Kyodo.

The test events of the Games were held between 2018 and 2021 and were intended to give organizers and sports federations a chance to trial operations.

There have been a series of scandals involving the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and several companies, which came to light following a probe into a former executive of the organizing committee for allegedly accepting bribes.

Haruyuki Takahashi is believed to have used a consultancy firm run by an acquaintance to receive the payments.

Takahashi is accused of having received close to 200 million yen ($1.47 million) from at least five companies, including various sponsors of the event such as publisher Kadokawa and the Aoki retail chain. EFE


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